FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
LITTLE ROCK - The UALR baseball team will play 29 home games as part of its 2011 schedule, including a non-conference bout against the Oklahoma Sooners at Dickey-Stephens Park on May 4. Scott Norwood enters his third season as head coach of the Trojans in 2011 looking to build on last year’s success, which saw UALR end the year as the NCAA’s 11th-most improved team in the nation.
The Trojans will play four games against Oklahoma, which advanced to the 2010 College World Series, during the 2011 season with the first three games taking place in Norman (March 11-13). The Sooners will then visit Dickey-Stephens Park, the home of the Class AA Arkansas Travelers, on May 4 at 7 p.m.
UALR played its first-ever regular season contest at Dickey-Stephens Park last year, when it squared off against Kansas in front of a record crowd on May 18, 2010. UALR and Kansas will again play a home-and-home series in 2011, with the Trojans visiting Lawrence on March 22, and the Jayhawks returning to Gary Hogan Field on May 10.
“I’m excited about the opportunity ahead of us with the teams we are playing. We really made an effort to upgrade our non-conference schedule to better prepare us for conference play,” said Norwood. “I think the city of Little Rock should be excited about a College World Series team coming to town.”
UALR will also face Oral Roberts (April 5), which advanced to an NCAA Regional in 2010, and Oklahoma State (April 12) on the road, while playing a home-and-home series with Central Arkansas and UAPB.
The Trojans open the season with five-straight road games, beginning with a four-game series against Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas (Feb. 18-20). Following a game against Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La. on Feb. 22, the Trojans return to Little Rock for nine-consecutive home games. UALR opens the home portion of its schedule with a three-game set against Bradley University, Feb. 25-27.
With the departure of New Orleans from the Sun Belt Conference, league teams will now play their natural rival twice during the regular season to keep the conference schedule at 30 games – meaning UALR and Arkansas State will square off six times during the year.
The Trojans begin conference play March 18-20 with a three-game home stand against Arkansas State at Gary Hogan Field, and return the trip to Jonesboro May 19-21 for the final series of the regular season. The league’s top eight teams will then advance to Monroe, La. for the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament (May 25-28).
UALR returns 16 lettermen off last year’s squad, which posted the program’s highest win total since 2003 and the highest winning percentage since 2000. The Trojans welcome 17 newcomers for the 2011 season, including two players selected in the 2010 MLB Draft and three NJCAA All-Americans.